US expands Russia sanctions over Ukraine conflict
The United States announced a long list of sanctioned companies and individuals on Thursday aimed at Russia over its continuing support for Ukraine's rebels and the 2014 seizure of Crimea.
The list took aim at a key unit of Bank Rossiya, often called the personal bank of Russian president Vladimir Putin, and some of Russia’s largest construction companies.
It included 17 Ukrainian separatists, 11 of them officials of the government Russia established in Crimea after illegally annexing the northern Black Sea peninsula in 2014.
And it also blacklisted a large number of Russian companies operating in Crimea, including major maritime and defense businesses.
The sanctions aim to lock those blacklisted out of global financial networks, thereby limiting their ability to do business, by banning any US entities and individuals from doing business with them.
That would impact not only US banks but also the US branches of foreign banks, making it difficult for them to serve the sanctioned firms.
The US Treasury said the new move aims at countering efforts by Russian entities to circumvent existing sanctions on individuals and companies.
The Treasury stressed the need for Russia to abide by its commitments to the 2014 and 2015 Minsk agreements aimed at halting the fighting between Ukraine forces and pro-Moscow rebels in eastern Ukraine.
The sanctions announcement “also underscores the US government’s opposition to Russia’s occupation of Crimea and our firm refusal to recognize its attempted annexation of the peninsula,” the Treasury said in a statement.
“Russia continues to provoke instability in eastern Ukraine despite its Minsk commitments,” said John Smith, the acting director of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.
“Treasury stands with our partners in condemning Russia’s violation of international law, and we will continue to sanction those who threaten Ukraine’s peace, security and sovereignty.”
Newly blacklisted was CJSC ABR Management, an asset management firm closely linked to already-sanctioned Bank Rossiya, which serves members of Putin’s closest circle.
The largest companies involved in an ongoing project to build a new bridge spanning the Kerch Strait between Crimea and the Russian mainland were listed for sanctions, including construction giants SGM Most and Moststrest.
The Treasury also identified subsidiaries of energy giant Gazprom and Bank of Moscow and Gazprombank to which the sanctions on their parent also apply.